Military-Political Complex

 We’ll head Down The Rabbit Hole in a few but first…In Venezuela they don’t have a military-industrial complex like Eisenhower warned us of here in the US in the 1950s, they have a military-political complex.

 Rio Times had the headline “Military Consolidates It’s Political Power In Venezuela”. It was not widely reported that Pedro Tellechea, who replaced long-time Maduro regime insider, Tareck El Aisammi, as Oil Minister and is also head of PDVSA (Venexuela government-owned oil company) is a colonel in the Venezuela military.

 Venezuela civilian organization Control Ciudano says a military elite of individuals with enormous political power who have never been in operational posts is being consolidated and occupying the regime’s most important political posts.

 The appointment of the last three military ministers this year confirms CC’s assertion. There are now six people from the army, three from the navy, three from the national guard, and two from the air force serving as Cabinet Ministers in the Maduro regime.

 It’s worth noting that Maduro has drastically increased the number of Cabinet Ministers in his government (I stopped counting at 32). Any issue faced by Maduro seems to call for the creation of a new ministry which contributes to more political control, more bureaucracy, and more corruption.

 We’ve known for a long time that Maduro needs to keep the military happy to remain in power and as oil revenues declined he ceded control of various sectors of the economy and government services to the military since he couldn’t just pay them with oil money.

 Now there are more military members in cabinet positions with the Maduro regime (14) than the total number of cabinet positions under Chavez (11). Maduro needs that trend to continue if he wants to continue his grip on power.

 Now, let’s go Down The Rabbit Hole…

 Chapter 12 continued…

 …In 2017 after the widely-boycotted ANC (Constituent Assembly) elections, Maduro had them sworn in by the TSJ, not by the assembly as required by the Constitution. So now we have an unconstitutional election for an unconstitutional ANC, which was unconstitutionally sworn in. Maduro declared the ANC not only constitutional but all powerful and it was ratified by the TSJ.

 But fear not! Venezuela still has judicial oversight. No, it’s not by the National Assembly or even the unconstitutional (and supposedly all powerful) ANC. It’s the TSJ’s Judicial Commission! Well, that should allay everyone’s concerns. The TSJ Judicial Commission consists of 6 judges including the TSJ president (You know, the convicted murderer with the extortion, drug- trafficking, and money laundering allegations). It can dismiss any provisional or temporary judge (80% of the country’s 1,732 judges) without cause or due process. Example 1/ In 2017 three judges released people detained during the protests and were summarily fired. One was even reinstated and fired again. Example 2/ A judge’s driver was arrested as he was delivering documents to a court official inside the courthouse. He was released but not before spending 35 days in jail without charges. This led to the courthouse being raided which led to five judges charged with “inexcusable error” and dismissed. While the commission can fire judges without cause or due process it’s not like they have no recourse. They do have the right to appeal and it must be heard within 90 days. Of the five judges fired, one retired and the other four appealed. Those appeals were never heard.

 If this wasn’t crazy enough we also have a parallel TSJ known as the “TSJ in exile” so we have two presidents, two assemblies, and two supreme courts (TSJs). The TSJ in exile consists of 33 judges living in the US, Colombia, Panama, and Chile. They have met every 15 days via video conference since 2017. As you might expect, they declared the ANC illegitimate, just as Maduro’s TSJ declared the duly elected National Assembly illegitimate, not once (in 2019) but twice (also in 2017) when they bestowed the assembly’s powers upon the ANC after briefly assuming said powers themselves. OK, got it?

 So what does the international community think of TSJ? Well, in 2017 and 2018 the US Treasury Department blacklisted 8 TSJ judges. In 2014 Transparency International rated Venezuela’s TSJ the most corrupt judicial system in the world. Transparency International also publishes annually a Corruption Perception Index which defines corruption as “the misuse of public power for private benefit”. For 2010 – 2018 Venezuela ranked in the bottom 10 of 176 countries every year. For the years 2017 and 2018 the World Justice Project – Rule of Law Index rated Venezuela last of 113 countries.

 So, where did that leave us in 2019 (the time of this writing) since the failed uprising which it was widely reported failed due to TSJ president, Maikel Moreno, backing out of a deal with the opposition because it didn’t give him the power he wanted? Well, the TSJ stripped over 15 members (and counting) of the National Assembly of their parliamentary immunity and a few were arrested while others fled the country or sought asylum. When the assembly denounced these arrests by one of three secret police organizations, SEBIN, TSJ judge, Carol Padilla, produced the warrant application as justification for the arrest of opposition leader Roberto Marrero. The only problem was that included in the justification for the warrant were GOOGLE searches for news articles that occurred five days after the warrant application.

 Summary : Many of the judges in the TSJ in exile have confirmed the regular practice of TSJ judges being summoned to Miraflores (the presidential palace) to discuss “sensitive cases”. And now…I’ve saved the best for last…This will tell you everything you need to know about the Venezuela Supreme Court, TSJ. This number is from 2019. As of the time of this writing the TSJ had reviewed 45,474 cases over the Chavismo years. IT RULED AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT ZERO TIMES!!!

 That will wrap up this segment of Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole. We’ll be back with more current news tomorrow….

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